TO C. B. T.

by: Bernard Barton (1784-1849)

      igh hopes, and noble thoughts, are thine;
      These Fortune could not take,
      Nor would her gifts adorn the shrine
      That such will not forsake.
      Defying Fate's and Fortune's will;
      What first was fair, is glorious still.
      But what is Fortune? what is Fate?
      The Christian knows them not:
      He knows a Being, good as great,
      Controls his earthly lot:
      No fabled phantom's vain caprice
      Assails his joy, or mars his peace.
      What though, dear Charles! thy morn so bright,
      Ere noon be somewhat shaded:
      Its tenderest bloom, its truest light,
      Remain undimm'd, unfaded:
      These brightly shine, and sweetly glow,
      And, keeping them, how rich art thou!
      Before I met thee, what I heard
      Had waken'd vain regret,
      And sympathy within was stirr'd
      For thee; but, when we met,
      I should have blush'd to own that I
      Had ever thought of sympathy.
      I could have look'd at thee, my friend!
      With envy, and with pride,
      But names so odious ill may blend
      With feelings gratified:
      And mine were such, for I was taught
      To bless thee, in my inmost thought.
      Whom the Lord loveth, in his love
      He chasteneth. Every son
      Adopted by our Sire above,
      That sonship thus hath won:
      Nor was the chastisement severe
      Which left thee much most truly dear.
      Am I too serious? surely not:
      If so, what may we trust?
      Hast thou not chosen as thy lot
      An office most august?
      And enter'd on its functions, now,
      Where much should sanctify each vow?
      The altar where thou minist'rest,
      The walls that echo round
      Each syllable by thee express'd,
      Stand they on holy ground?
      It is regarded so by thee,
      In one sense it is such to me.
      Forgive me if I honour not,
      As thou may'st, outward things;
      Or if, while standing on such spot,
      My recollection clings
      To one, whose memory, in my sight,
      Eclipses the most splendid rite.
      No consecrating ritual's art,
      No anthem's echoing peal,
      Could, to the feelings of my heart,
      That hidden spell reveal,
      Which, though thy creed is not my own,
      Here wakens thought's sublimest tone.
      Thy creed not mine! the thought recal;
      Its essence is the same;
      On truths most awful unto all,
      We differ but in name:
      And these enjoin us to revere
      A spot by martyr'd worth made dear.
      Not to revere, as may have been
      The case in days gone by,
      With superstition's darken'd mien;
      But with a heavenward eye
      To him, the Giver of all good,
      For whom that martyr nobly stood.
      Thou bear'st his NAME; thou standest where
      He stood;--his words recal;
      May'st thou his deep devotion share,
      On thee his mantle fall;
      For unto it more virtue clings
      Than to the ermin'd robes of kings!

"To C. B. T." is reprinted from Napoleon and Other Poems. Bernard Barton. London: Thomas Boys, 1822.




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